UK Bookmakers Eye US Markets in Wake of Supreme Court DecisionBy Luke Haward, CDC Gaming ReportsMay 16, 2018 at 11:10 amThe news from across the pond of the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the ban on sports betting has been a shot in the arm for UK bookmakers, just judging by the numbers alone. Their share prices boomed overnight in the wake of the news, with William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair each up over ten per cent. A naïve person might ask why it should matter to them. That’s simple: the US is not a closed market, and there’s every expectation that bookmakers from the UK will be looking to get a slice of the now nice and legal US sports betting pie.Indeed, some firms already have a foothold in the US market. Paddy Power Betfair, for example, already owns TVG, a wagering service for horse- and greyhound-racing. Others will be looking to make rapid inroads. There was widespread speculation, when William Hill left the Australian market recently, that their hopes were ultimately pinned on this Supreme Court decision, with big plans for expansion in the US. This is now a real possibility for them.GVC Holdings, which recently bought out Ladbrokes here in the UK for £4 billion and already has licenses in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, spoke out about the news, saying that they were looking forward “to develop(ing) mutual opportunities” and “view the U.S. as a significant opportunity for growth in a newly regulating market.” I don’t think there’s a bookie in the land who would disagree with that sentiment. What GVC really has to offer the US, of course, is years of recent experience in sports betting and associated technologies.Some estimates suggest that around $150 billion of illegal bets are placed in the US every year, a thriving market considering its illegality. Imagine how much larger that market might be if everything is legitimate and done by the book. There are likely a lot of punters currently wagering on the black market who would prefer to play legally; those punters will now be able to do just that. To say nothing of people who might have long been tempted to put a bet down on a game but either didn’t know how or didn’t feel like establishing a relationship with a faceless offshore site like Bovada (or their friendly neighborhood bookie).Many US states will likely pass tax laws enabling them to benefit from the new sports betting activities. It’s widely expected that a diverse range of laws might be passed – some states are expected to allow a fairly open market, with others only allowing sports betting to be offered by licensed brick and mortar venues. This will, of course, affect the strategy for bookmakers wishing to engage with the market.However it pans out, it’s big news, and good news, for the industry, at least. Challenges will abound, especially in terms of how to keep match fixing out of the picture and how to ensure that players are protected in terms of responsible gambling. We’re at the start of a long and profitable, but also potentially dangerous, road. There’ll surely be plenty to write about, and a lot more gaming business taking place across the Atlantic.